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Russian retailer looking to cash in on Olympics

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March 30, 2012, 9:46 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press

Bosco, the clothing company that supplies the Olympic uniforms for the Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish national teams, has just opened its first store in Britain — only a few steps from the Olympic Stadium in east London.
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LONDON — Banking on the London Games to spur sales, a Russian retailer is taking its distinctive product from Red Square right to the heart of this year's Olympics. Bosco, the clothing company that supplies the Olympic uniforms for the Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish national teams, has just opened its first store in Britain — only a few steps from the Olympic Stadium in east London.

"We are in the very beginning, but with the Olympics we are in the pole position," Bosco founder Mikhail Kusnirovich said Friday at a media round-table. "More podiums, more medals, more sales."

Bosco has been outfitting the Russian team since 2002. By the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, the red-and-white Russian shirts and jackets with the big flowers were some of the hottest items of the games.

"Nike and Adidas are competitors with each other. We are different," said Kusnirovich, who is also the deputy chief of the Russian Olympic delegation. "We try to produce atmosphere all around the final customer. Our objective is human, the final outcome."

The retail store in London, the company's first outside Russia and Ukraine, opened Wednesday but cannot yet sell items directly linked to the London Olympics. It is located next to the Olympic Park at the Westfield Stratford City mall, which is said to be the biggest mall in Europe.

Bosco has 65 stores, including 12 in Moscow. The company's flagship store is in Moscow's Red Square, but with the London Olympics as the starting point, the company is looking at expansion.

"We want to use the London Olympic Games and this opportunity to be not global, but more international," Kusnirovich said. "Our next step will be Madrid and Barcelona, and then Rio for sure."

The Olympics are an ongoing theme with Kusnirovich, who has been a fan of the games since he was a boy. Meeting London organizing committee head Sebastian Coe on Friday was a particular highlight.

"I was in the stadium when Seb Coe won his gold medal. I was with my father," Kusnirovich said of the 1,500-meter final at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. "It was very unforgettable. I remember very well."
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